Library as place.

Interesting open letter, flagged up by Michael Stephens.

The most interesting point is where Karen Schneider asks why libraries should be the place around which a ‘commons’ can be built.

My off the cuff answer is:- because they are set up for it physically, that increasingly they are set up for it technologically (though I acknowledge there is a long way to go in some cases) and that as a public body they can (or rather should) work for as many people as possible.

Libraries aren’t in the mere-provision-of-information business. Or they shouldn’t be.

I just feel that a physical place for the exchange and experience of information is still important.

With respect to bibliographic control, I think it’s important not to get too hung up on the word control. As I understand it, the idea is that information can be made accessible through agreed forms of description. I agree entirely that users should be involved in working out these forms. I also believe that emerging forms of control, such as tagging, can work alongside RDA-style arrangements. We seem to be divvying ourselves into either-or camps.

Behind all this is my nagging question- what are libraries for? Is it just information, whether making/getting/amending?


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